Connacht have confirmed the signing of versatile back Byron Ralston.
The 21-year-old will move west from Super Rugby side Western Force ahead of next season.
Having played on the wing and at outside centre, Ralston will provide options for Andy Friend.
Ralston has international experience with Australia at under-20 level and scored five tries for Western Force in 14 Super Rugby appearances.
Ralston came through the academy at Force and also excelled with the club in the National Rugby Championship, scoring seven tries in eight games on their way to winning the 2019 Grand Final.
🟢𝙒𝙀𝙇𝘾𝙊𝙈𝙀 𝘽𝙔𝙍𝙊𝙉 🟢
Delighted to confirm Byron Ralston of the @westernforce joins Connacht next season! 🙌
✅ Winger or outside centre
✅ Super Rugby experience
✅ And yes, he's Irish-qualified ☘️#WelcomeByron
Full story: https://t.co/04KrN6Jsc6 pic.twitter.com/VGMevvqD0Z
— Connacht Rugby (@connachtrugby) March 14, 2022
Speaking following confirmation of the move, the Australian says he's relishing the chance to play in Ireland.
“Moving to Connacht Rugby and the West of Ireland is a brilliant opportunity for me," he said.
"The style of rugby that they play will suit me down to the ground, and it gives me a chance to reconnect with my Irish roots.
"I’m obviously aware of the positive experience other Aussies have had after moving to Connacht, and so I will be doing all I can to make a similar impact and help the club achieve the level of success they are all working towards.”
It represents another addition for Connacht, following the signings of Shamus Hurley Langton and Leinster duo Adam Byrne and Peter Dooley.
Head coach Andy Friend believes Ralston has the potential to be an exciting acquisition for his squad.
“I’m delighted that Byron has chosen to further his career with us.
"He’s been playing as a winger for the Force, but also plays 13, so he’s yet another player we have who has great versatility.
"Given he’s only 21, he will get a great opportunity to grow his game here and be an important part of our setup.”
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